Third quarter off to good start at Target

A 4.2% increase in August same-store sales at Target was at the high end of the company’s forecast range.

The solid showing during August was noteworthy because it came on top of a prior year increase of 4.1% and was attributable primarily to an increase in average transaction size. According to Target, about three fourths of the increase was due to growth in ticket with increase shopper traffic accounting for the remainder of the comp increase.

"Sales were stronger in the second half of the month, as guests responded to Target’s broad assortment and compelling value for their back-to-school and back-to-college shopping," said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

As in prior months, comps were strongest in food which experienced a high single-digit increase, and in health and beauty, which experienced a mid single-digit increase. August comparable-store sales in apparel increased in line with the company average while the home and hardlines areas experienced a low single-digit increase.

The company said sales strength was broad-based with every region of the country reporting an increase and described its month end inventories as being in very good condition.

The modestly better than expected sales performance during August wasn’t enough to cause the company to elevate expectations for September. Comps for the coming month are forecast to increase in the low single digits.